BROAD BEAN (BIGILLA - The National Snack of Malta)

BROAD BEAN PASTE (BIGILLA) - The national snack of Malta

This recipe was supplied to us by our resident Maltese employee.

She recalls as a child (and she laughed at how long ago that was) that the Bigilla vendors would appear during the evening hours selling this very traditional snack especially in the winter months.

They would sell this hot paste on a piece of wax paper.
It was a very special treat, an occasion when she and her sisters would stroll hand in hand along with their mother to purchase this special treat.

Malta is a very small island approximately 90 kilometers off the south coast of Italy.
They have their own language and their own way of cooking.

The population is less than half a million and we can almost assure you that they all love Bigilla.

The following is the traditional method of making this Maltese snack and for a small area like Malta to be recognized around the world for this recipe, it is quite an achievement.
Nevertheless, Malta is not a new country, it has a history of over 5,000 years.


500g Broad Beans or Fava Beans Dry
1/4 Olive or Soya Oil
Chopped Parsley
4 cloves of Garlic
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
Black Pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight in water with Salt and Baking Soda.

The next day, drain the water.

Wash beans thoroughly, and remove any foreign objects.

Place Beans in medium pot. 

Fill with enough water to cover the Beans and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat. Cover and allow the Beans to simmer until tender or to your satisfaction.

Drain excess water from the beans.

Place Beans in a glass bowl.  

Crush or mince them (skin included).

Add Oil, Parsley and crushed Garlic, and make into a paste.

Enjoy while still hot.

If you want to avoid the presoaking and cooking of the beans, we suggest that you use a can of Mr. Goudas Broad Beans or Fava Beans which are ready to eat as a salad or as a main ingredient in recipes such as this.

Mr. Goudas Broad Beans is not used only by Maltese, but is very favourable to the Middle Eastern culture in general, North Africans and South Europeans dishes.

However, a little known fact about Broad Beans or Fava Beans is that most of the world's production is centered in the South American country, Bolivia.

The best quality of course, is supplied to the Mr. Goudas Brand.

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